How To Prepare For Interviews

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Table Of Contents

First things first. If you don’t feel 100% confident that your resume is up to par, we always recommend TopResume’s free resume review.

Everyone knows they need to prepare for a job interview, but it can be challenging to figure out just what you need to do. Don’t worry! Everyone is in the same boat, and it’s not as complicated as you may think. Here’s what you need to know about preparing for a job interview.

If you’re still on the job hunt, we usually recommend starting with ZipRecruiter and it’s usually a good idea to have a few irons in the fire as you’re interviewing.

Preparing For A Job Interview The Right Way

Review Your Resume

This may seem like a ridiculous thing to do after landing an interview, but you should review your resume! The interviewers may ask you about any of the jobs and any of the accomplishments you had there. After all, you don’t know what attracted them to you– so make sure you go over the resume.

Be prepared to answer questions about anything you have on your resume– from a project you did in 2007 to what your favorite class was at Acme University. They may not be significant things in your eyes, but if an interviewer wants to know, it’s best to have an answer.

If you need help polishing your resume, check out our guide to that reviews all of the resume writing services.

Research The Company

If you are applying for a job in a pharmaceutical company, you may think it’s enough to know that they make medications. But, that’s not enough to make a good impression on the hiring manager. Spend some time learning about the company, focusing on the role you would play. For instance, if you’re applying for a job in the finance department, knowing about the business’s current market capitalization would be helpful. If you’re applying for a career in the laboratory, learning about current products could be a big boon. Here is what you should look at.

  • The company’s website. This should be obvious, but a lot of people skip it! Click around. Read the message from the CEO, look at their product line, and read through their mission statement. This information is freely available so you should spend time reviewing it.
  • Research news about the company. Google the company name and click the “news” tab. You’ll find out anything that lands the company in the news. Some of this may be negative. Of course, don’t lead with this information, but it’s good that you know it. Remember, you’re interviewing the company too!
  • Check their stock value. If the company is publicly traded, you can look up how its stock is doing.
  • Learn about the leadership. If there aren’t biographies on the website, look at LinkedIn.

Practice Interviewing

You can ask a friend to interview you. Ideally, this would be someone who manages people in your same field, as their questions will be more relevant. But, anyone can ask you basic interview questions like these:

  • Tell me a little about yourself. Remember, this is a question about your professional life–not your personal life.
  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at work. How did you recover? Make sure you have a story for this question–it comes up a lot, and you don’t want to stumble. Don’t pretend you never made a mistake.

Join The Break Community

  • What is your management style, or what type of manager do you work best with? If you can’t stand micro-managing, say, “I work best independently!” If you love working in teams, say so. If you manage people by looking at results, speak up.
  • What excites you about working for this company? It may just be that you need a paycheck, but at least pretend you’re excited about working for this particular company and have an answer prepared.
  • Why are you looking to leave your current position? Don’t be too honest: “My boss is sleazy, and I’ve reported sexual harassment three times, and no one’s done anything” may be honest, but it’s not helpful. Think about positive reasons why you are looking to move on and not negative reasons why you don’t want to stay.

Related: How To Talk About Your Weaknesses In A Job Interview

Find The Location

If you are interviewing onsite, check out where the building is–don’t just count on your GPS to get you there. Know where the building is and where parking is–if it’s not available onsite. If you’re taking public transportation, ask what the best tram/bus/metro stop is.

If the interview is online, make sure you’ve updated the relevant software and have a quiet place to take the interview. To be safe, have your camera facing the wall. Lock your pets and kids out of the room. (Make sure someone is watching the kids!)

If you’re planning to interview from your car (lots of people do!), make sure your morning coffee cup is out of view, and there’s no trash in the backseat.

Related: How To Prepare For A Video Interview

Plan Your Interview Outfit

What do you wear to an interview? Here’s a rule of thumb: be one level dressier than the current employees.

So, if it’s a place where everyone wears jeans and t-shirts, then you can wear khaki pants and a golf shirt. If everyone is wearing khaki pants and golf shirts, you go for business casual. The only exception is if it’s a place where everyone wears a suit–you do too! No tuxedos and ball gowns for job interviews.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you prepare mentally for a job interview?

It’s okay to be nervous–everyone is nervous. In fact, it’s likely that the hiring manager is a little bit nervous about conducting an interview. If you review your resume, research the company, and have friends ask you some practice questions, you can go in confidently. They wouldn’t bring you in for an interview if they didn’t think you have potential. You’re prepared!

Why should you prepare for an interview?

The above steps can really help you get in the right space for an interview. Don’t skip any of them, and you’ll be prepared.

How do I pass a successful interview?

Speak clearly. Take time to answer a question–it’s okay to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts. If you don’t know the answer to something, say so! Don’t lie and say you know how to do something when you don’t. You can say, “I don’t know how to X, but I am excited to learn all about it!

How do you introduce yourself in an interview?

“Hi, I’m Jane Doe. I’m happy to be here.” That’s it—no need to explain anything about yourself until they ask you.

Bottom Line

Job interviews can be difficult, but as long as you prepare, you don’t need to worry. It may be the door to the next step on your career path. Now that you know how to prepare for an interview, it’s time to land your next interview! Find jobs today on ZipRecruiter!